From the Independent • Mt. Airy News Stories

December 17, 2009 •  Independent.121709.pdf

In This Issue


Corner Deli Reopening

Gets ZBAOK


Agreements Mean Parking Congestion Should Ease


Germantown, Penn Charter Take Honors in 20th Community Tournament


Returning Soldier Receives ‘A Hero’s Welcome’


Pastorius Students Earn ‘Bucks’ for Good Work


Students Present Ideas on How to Revive Town Hall


Workshop for Small Businesses


See Germantown’s Past

at Pilates Studio


Free Tax Rebate Help at Myers’ Office


Volunteers Green NW with Tree Plantings


Volunteer to be Trail Ambassador


Volunteer with Working with People


Northwest Zoning Hearings


Building Community at the Arts Garage


Shop the Avenue - And Earn Gift Certificates


Pre-Holiday Music Festival


Mt. Airy Calendars


Mt. Airy Baseball Offers Winter Clinics


Holiday Music Festival


Kwanzaa Festival


Poinsettia Sale


Sing Along with Oz Characters


$11K in Grants from Mt. Airy Teachers Fund


GHS to Commemorate Victims of Violence


World-Class Players Soccer Clinic


Donations Sought for Food Cupboard


GAME Night at Reformation


‘Rosemary for Remembrance’ at St. Paul’s

Corner Deli Reopening Gets ZBAOK


By PATRICK COBBS

Staff Writer


The owners and operators of the former Corner Deli at 6645 Germantown Avenue won the right to open a new takeout restaurant on the site December 9, and - in a striking role reversal - representatives from the neighborhood and Mt. Airy USA testified in support of the business at the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA).


“Because they have agreed not to sell alcohol and [will] open as a sit-down restaurant, we are willing to give them a chance,” said Cynthia Bradley, a community organizer with Mt. Airy USA.


Not long ago Bradley would have been opposed to the business’s bid to re-open because of years of trouble that numerous local residents, business owners and community representatives say anchored itself at the corner the deli was named for, at Germantown Avenue and Hortter Street. But since then the family of Adam Xu and Ngor Lim, which owns the building and the business, has agreed to make significant changes so that such trouble won’t find it easy to come back. 


Key to winning the takeout license was a letter of provisional support from East Mt. Airy Neighbors that called for the business to abandon the sale of alcohol on the site, operate as a “sit down” restaurant, not sell loose tobacco products, and not install interior Plexiglas, among other things.


“We’ve agreed to all those provisions,” said Xu and Lim’s lawyer Joseph Beller.


The ZBA’s decision might have been that easy if not for another local objection filed by individuals connected with the Five Star Chinese Food takeout restaurant one block away, at Germantown Avenue and Springer Street.


Attorney Mark Karpo filed his opposition on behalf of the Five Star business owners and local property owner, Clinton Bennett, who owns at least two buildings in the area including the one occupied by the Five Star.


“They are a Chinese restaurant and essentially competition,” Karpo explained to the ZBA members.


The Five Star is a business that has been a major focus of recent concern by community groups including Mt. Airy USA, East and West Mt. Airy Neighbors (EMAN and WMAN) and the Pelham Town Watch for allegedly attracting drug trafficking and other problem behaviors to the corner of Germantown and Springer. The culprit, according to many, has been business practices similar to those attributed to the earlier version of the Corner Deli. 


With the help of an interpreter, Karpo and a Five Star employee, Shen Chen, asked the ZBA not to allow the return of the Corner Deli because it was a nuisance when it operated before. In response, Beller accused the Five Star of being the real nuisance to neighbors.


Chen said she was unaware that the Five Star had any trouble with neighbors, and she showed a petition signed prior to the EMAN endorsement by 100 people who did not want to see the Corner Deli reopen. Ngor Lim, who will operate the new Corner Deli and was also involved with the old one, said he never saw the old business as a problem hangout.


To Bradley this turn of events was a complete surprise.


“I find myself in support of the Corner Deli simply because I’ve seen how the other establishment [the Five Star] has been run,” she said in a later interview. “It was really a little bit of an irony to be in full support of the Corner Deli because I know their history, but it was because they have agreed to do what we asked them.”


After the ZBA ruled to allow the Corner Deli takeout license, Chen said she thought the competition would be difficult between the two similar restaurants are set only one block apart. But Xu thought things wouldn’t be that bad.


“I think we are a lot different,” he said. “Competition will be there, but on the other side we will try to focus on Japanese types of food, which is lighter and healthier.”


Xu hopes to open the new restaurant by March or April.



Agreements Mean Parking Congestion Should Ease


By PATRICK COBBS

Staff Writer


Abundant parking in the business districts of Mt. Airy might seem like a fantasy but with two firm agreements now in place for shoppers to use area parking lots, and negotiations proceeding on a third lot, the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District (BID) thinks easier parking is moving from a dream to a reality.


“I think this is going to immediately alleviate a lot of the evening parking concerns that businesses have,” said BID President Ken Weinstein of the recent agreements.


At the moment the BID has a signed deal with the Germantown Home for use of its lot behind the Fire Station at Germantown and Carpenter Lane (accessible off of Carpenter), and a handshake deal with Valley Green Bank at 7226 Germantown Avenue that should be fully in place by January, according to Weinstein.


According to Mt. Airy Business Association Executive Director Kim Miller, there is no hard data on how much business Mt. Airy looses because of parking difficulties but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of frustrated shoppers. The current push for Mt. Airy parking came out of a heavily attended meeting on the issue convened jointly by West and East Mt. Airy Neighbors, Mt. Airy USA and the BID in the early spring. At the meeting, residents expressed support both for area businesses and a need for improved parking conditions. Weinstein described it as providing an “incredibly positive energy that basically gave us a mandate to get this done.”


Understandably then, most involved are excited by the recent developments. The Germantown Home now provides 50 free spaces to customers from 4:30 to 10 p.m. weeknights, and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.


Elise Rivers was involved with the negotiations as the owner of Mt. Airy Community Acupuncture Center at 6782 Germantown Avenue, and she thinks the agreement will help address the goal of providing consistent, safe and well-lit parking for customers of the 6700 and 6800 blocks of the Avenue without inconveniencing nearby neighbors with congestion. And there was another positive as well, she said: the willingness of area institutions like New Courtland Inc., which owns the Germantown Home, to be partners in community concerns.


“I give them total credit,” she said. “From the moment that the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District sat down with them, they were willing to consider the public using their lot at no charge.”


According to Weinstein and Miller, the lot talks with Valley Green Bank took much the same tenor. When that 35-space lot becomes officially available in January it will provide free weeknight parking from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to midnight on Saturday and Sunday.


But parking in Mt. Airy is complicated. Weinstein estimated the difficulty in the 6700/6800 and 7100/7200 blocks of the Avenue goes back at least five years, and others date it from far earlier than that.


Herb Rothe III, owner of Rothe Florists at 7148 Germantown Avenue, recalled that his family sold the land behind his shop to the city in the mid-1980s with the stipulation that it be used for free public parking, which he thinks is a vital incentive to the shopping district.


“The one thing I will be adamantly against is to charge for parking in Mt. Airy,” he said.


But this lot alone is simply not big enough for the parking demand. It fills up in the mornings and afternoons according to popular workout times at FitLife, which is right next door at 7140 Germantown Avenue and relies heavily on the lot for its business. Joseph Zeleznock, owner of FitLife, pays for the snow removal on the lot each winter. And with the advent of new area restaurants, the dinner crowd completely fills it up most nights, Rothe said.


The Mt. Airy BID doesn’t know exactly how many spots are needed in the shopping district but it has its eye on one more lot to help sooth the problem. Weinstein has been in talks with Northwest Human Services (NHS) to open its lot on the unit block of East Mt. Airy Avenue to nighttime and weekend shoppers, but the details have been a bit more difficult to iron out.


NHS uses a portion of the lot during the times shoppers would need them, so protecting those spots is one of the challenges. Another complication came out of the now-sour relations between Mt. Airy residents and property owners David and Betty Ann Fellner and the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation (OARC) over the defunct restaurant North by Northwest.


According to BID minutes, NHS at one point considered offering the BID a $6,000/year lease for the lot’s use. OARC offered to pay for this lease on behalf of the BID but the Fellners did not think it would be appropriate for the BID to accept the money or take up any kind of relationship with OARC because the organization is suing the Fellners (who are paying BID members) over the restaurant.


Despite all the history, Weinstein thinks the NHS negotiations are still on the right track. And there is even a possibility that the BID might not need to pay for using the lot, according to Kim Miller.


Other lots that figure into the Mt. Airy parking picture are the small lot next to the Rock Star Gallery at 20 East Mt. Airy Avenue, and the large lot behind the Sedgwick Theater. Both are owned by the Fellners and both are already available for free to Avenue shoppers, informally.


“Our lot is open, and people who know about it, at their risk, are using it,” Betty Ann Fellner said of the large theater lot. And, she said, shoppers “freely use” the smaller lot on Mt. Airy as well.


But the large lot behind the theater is not ideal. According to many, it requires significant improvements to fill the safe and well-lit criteria that Rivers mentioned. The Fellners see those kinds of improvements being “somewhere in the future” of the larger lot but they are not sure just when. David Fellner expressed interest in working with community groups on developing his lot in a recently prepared statement.


Still, with the new Germantown Home and Valley Green Bank agreements in place, and another contract looking possible with NHS, Weinstein thinks parking in Mt. Airy is looking up.

“We are going to start with putting these two lots and hopefully three lots on line and see if we still have significant parking issues,” he said. “I think it’s going to pretty quickly bring more customers to the Avenue and it will alleviate the difficult situations that communities like Manayunk have experienced.”


Look for Mt. Airy Parking signs on the Avenue clarifying hours for the new official lots coming soon.


Germantown, Penn Charter Take Honors in 20th Community Tournament


(Left to right) Dominique Twiggs and tournament MVP Ramadan Abdullah of Germantown High received spots on the all-tournament team along with Baye Goodman of Bodine. Others named were Anton Popov of Germantown Friends (not pictured) and Roxborough’s Anthony Patterson (not pictured).


(Below, Left to right) Honoree Officer Ernest Pollard of the Paley PAL Center; Cathy Paulmier, Germantown Friends’ Head of Community Service; and Madison Alig, GFS class of 2011 and head of the Community Actions club at the school.


By ZOE FEINGOLD

Guest Writer


The 20th annual Germantown Community Basketball Tournament took place this past weekend at Germantown Friends School (GFS), serving as a fund-raiser and host for friendly Germantown rivalries.  The gyms at Germantown Friends School were packed with fans from each of the five tournament teams - Bodine High School, Penn Charter, GFS, Germantown High School, and Roxborough High - hoping to inspire their teams to victory.


Friday night saw the Penn Charter girls team move on to the tournament championship game with a whopping 28-point win against Bodine. Penn Charter would face the girls of GFS, who fought their way to a decisive victory against Germantown High School on Friday night with a 17-point win. The girls’ consolation match took place on Saturday, when Bodine took the third spot in the girls’ division with a blow-out 61-26 point game against Germantown.


The boys progression was almost opposite; in the first round GFS suffered a home-team loss to eventual champion Germantown in a close, 56-51 game, while Bodine pulled out a win against a competitive Roxborough High School team. Steal after steal kept the fans of the boy’s consolation game on their toes on Saturday, when GFS and Roxborough battled an exciting overtime game, ending in a victory for Roxborough.


A heart-warming presentation of the annual Germantown Community Basketball Community Service Award preceded the championship games on Saturday as Officer Ernest Pollard was honored for his “outstanding service to the community of Germantown.” Since 1993 the tournament has carried the tradition of awarding a dedicated member of the Germantown community with a plaque and acknowledgement for their selfless service to the community. Pollard attended Roman Catholic High School and went on to attend Temple University where he was a star player for the Owls under coach John Cheney. Pollard has been a Philadelphia police officer for 14 years and has served the Police Athletic league for 10 years.


“It is fitting that Officer Pollard should receive this award on this 20th year,” announced Kathy Paulmier, head of Community Involvement at GFS, who presented Pollard with the award. “I am impressed with his leadership and dedication in serving the youth of our community every afternoon.” Pollard has worked at the Paley PAL (Police Athletic League) Center, 5330 Germantown Avenue, for four years, where he supervises an after-school program for kids while they play basketball, do their homework, or participate in various other activities.


“Being a police officer is my job, and I’ve always wanted to give back to the community,” said the humble Pollard when asked about his acknowledgement, “but it felt really good to be recognized for my work at PAL.” Pollard loves basketball, and even though his primary service at PAL is as a police officer, he’s still able to teach the kids a few things on the basketball court. Pollard acts as a big brother figure to the kids as well as their mentor and supervisor.


After receiving the award, Pollard joined the audience for the championship games. The GFS girls faced a tough Penn Charter team. GFS got off to a rocky start in the first half and were never able to catch up, suffering a 40-point loss to Penn Charter, which was led by tournament MVP Brianna Butler.


The girls’ All-Tournament team consisted of GFS Junior Julya Loder, Penn Charter Sophomores Brianna Butler and Dianna Thomas-Palmer, Sharnay Ratchford of Germantown High, and Bodine Senior Chikilra Goodman.


Slam dunks and no-look passes made for an enthusiastic crowd during the match-up between Germantown High and Bodine in the boy’s championship game. Germantown High led by only 3 going into the 3rd quarter, but an outstanding performance by Germantown High Senior and captain Ramadan Abdullah saw to it that Bodine could not cut the lead any shorter. Germantown ended with a 49-38 victory over Bodine.


Dominique Twiggs and tournament MVP Ramadan Abdullah of Germantown High received spots on the all-tournament team, along with Baye Goodman of Bodine, GFS team captain Anton Popov, and Roxborough’s Anthony Patterson.

The excitement, however, was not free of charge. A small fee is required to enter the tournament each year, and the money is set aside for the funding of The Germantown Friends Basketball, Reading and Computer clinic, a five-week summer program hosted at GFS.


The summer program, which doubles as a basketball clinic and summer-school, was started about 40 years ago by former GFS principal David Felsen. Felsen would gather about 100 kids from schools in the Germantown area to attend the camp each summer, where daily basketball games and skill-building drills were held. Felsen would incorporate learning into each day’s agenda by having the kids read basketball-related stories or by asking them to spell and give the definition of a certain word before taking a free-throw, building their vocabulary and free-throw percentage all in one shot. Germantown Friends basketball coach and current co-director of the clinic, Brandon Jones, says that now, though a large part of the day is still devoted to basketball, there is an even greater emphasis on the learning parts of the camp, with the addition of a computer class.


“The camp will not turn anyone away who can’t pay,” says Jones. The funds raised at the Germantown Community Tournament make sure that each summer, hundreds of Germantown’s youth are offered a fun, safe, and low-cost way to spend their summers.


Zoe Feingold is a member of the GFS Class of 2011.



Returning Soldier Receives ‘A Hero’s Welcome’


Among those at the welcoming ceremony at Philadelphia International Airport were (left to right) Rev. Anthony P. Booker, father; Lt. Aaron Paul Booker; Wayne Lutz, founder of Warriors Watch; Sheila D. Booker, mother; Mike Cotter, Warriors Watch member; Margaret Chadrick, grandmother; Helen Antoinette Booker, sister; Madeline Chatman, godmother; Daniel Chadrick, cousin.


By SUE ANN RYBAK

Editorial Staff Intern


“The sound of freedom” is how Wayne Lutz, the founder of Warriors Watch, described the noise on Sunday evening, December 6, at the rally to welcome home Lt. Aaron Booker from Iraq.

Despite the bitter cold that evening, 30 members of the groups Warriors Watch and A Hero’s Welcome gathered at Engine 66 Fire House, located near the Philadelphia International Airport, to escort  Lt. Booker and his family home to Mt. Airy. The groups are both non-profit organizations whose mission is to honor and welcome home solders returning from war. The principal of Warriors Watch is, “They have our backs over there. We have their backs here at home.”


Lt. Booker deployed last year with Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor, 172 Infantry Brigade Combat Team to Wasit Province, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was awarded an army commendation for his meritorious service. Booker, 24, was recently named executive officer of his unit. He is a Mt. Airy native who graduated with honors in 2003 from Central High School and a 2007 honors graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science of Hampton University, Hampton.


“I was  surprised,” said Lt. Booker about the welcoming ceremony. He was shocked so many people would be there to welcome him home at midnight.  “Knowing that they [solders] have people back home who love and support them ... it helps. It really does matter,” he said.


He added, “We need a strong military to help and protect this country. As far as I am concerned, anyone who volunteers their time and service deserves respect and honor, not just people wearing an uniform.”


“I knew some people were going to there,” said Rev. Anthony Booker, Aaron’s father.  “It exceeded my greatest expectation. While I personally don’t believe we should be in Iraq, we shouldn’t blame the military personnel.  They are the ones dying and suffering. I hope we learned that lesson back in Vietnam. We should encourage and support our troops.


“I am very proud of my son. He is very tenacious. He never gives up. He stays with something until he reaches his goal. He is a very determined young man. You always see stories about when the whole unit returns. It is rare to see a story about an individual solder returning home.”


“My husband and I were so overwhelmed to have all these people welcoming him home,” Sheila Booker said. “ We were impressed with the men and women of Warriors Watch and A Hero’s Welcome. Their commitment transcends all economical, racial, and political lines. They are all so dedicated to welcoming all service men and women.” 


Sheila Booker said she found out about Warriors Watch from Lutz.  “We used to work together at St. Paul Lutheran Evangelical Church,” she said.


Lutz, a Vietnam veteran, started Warriors Watch in the spring of 2008.  Since its inception, Warriors Watch has grown rapidly with chapters in 38 states. Prior to creating Warriors Watch, he was a member of an organization that honored solders by attending their funerals.


“I recognized a wider need to support returning solders and their families,” Lutz said.  “The best way I believe we can honor the dead is by supporting our men and women in the military.”


“It’s addictive,” said Lutz, describing seeing families welcoming their sons and daughters home from war. Lutz refers to the solders as “Our Heroes.”


Charlie Becker, coordinator of A Hero’s Welcome and also a Vietnam veteran, recalled how in the summer of 1969 a saleswoman refused to wait on him when he tried to buy some t-shirts. His buddy, he said, was returning home wounded in uniform and a young woman began beating on the bus he was on, shouting “baby killer” and screaming “you should be dead!”


“That is why I do this,” Becker said. “Because every returning solder deserves ‘A Hero’s Welcome.’ ”


For more information about A Hero’s Welcome visit www.aheros-welcome.org/about_us. For information about Warriors Watch visit www.warriorswatch.org.


Building Community at the Arts Garage


By LINDA SLODKI

Guest Writer


After completing our second weekend of the Mt. Airy Art Garage, we are all being struck by an unexpected experience. It’s not about how many visitors crossed the portals of our doors. It’s not about artists’ sales, and it’s not about more holiday marketing ads to bring you in.


It’s about community.


We have been deeply moved by the warm embraces of visitors thanking us for what we are doing. We become teary-eyed at unexpected (and ongoing) dropoffs of home-made food for everyone at our festivities. We are touched by the musicians who have stepped forward to volunteer their time, for the love of art, to add warmth to everyone’s spirits in a cold Garage. We laugh with our artists as they run through the aisles in glee having sold a painting of the highest caliber. Everything is offered with a smile, or an embrace, and open heart.


The crossroads of cooperation. Weavers Way has embraced our vision with their support. Our brainstorm, our vision became theirs, employees and managers alike. They have provided us with space, with opportunity, with moral support.


Businesses in Germantown, Mt. Airy, and Chestnut Hill have stepped forward with food donations to feed the soul, provide Holiday cheer, and add some chocolate to the mouths of babes, old and young alike. Some of the businesses who have opened their hearts to us include High Point Café, Little Night Kitchen, Bredenbecks, Baker Street Bread, Point of Destination Café, Mi Puebla, Platinum Grill, Urban Café, Metropolitan Bakery, and more. On our first weekend Meg, owner of High Point Café, welcomed us into the neighborhood with wonderful signs, coffee, and scones for all. Neighbors come by with baked goods, home-made treats, and cider!


Our Mt. Airy Art Garage musicians have come from all walks of life, all volunteering their time, professionals such as Richard Drueding, Terri Rambo, Barry Goldstein, Zak Stock, Jerry Allender and his trio Slippery Slope to name a few. And then we are thrilled to have new, emerging artists like Mark Robinson, Ian Zolitar, and Sondra Rodriguez — and that’s for starters. Some have already played, others will come soon. Perhaps Barry put it the  best this past weekend when he said “This place is really cool, and I am here to play and be a part of it.” That’s what it’s all about: cooperation, making art happen, all for the love of doing it.


So, wish us well for our final weekend. We will have the largest, most diverse offering of fine art and handcraft yet, with live music all day long! In 2010, we move on to the next phase of our vision and dreams — to create an Artist Cooperative at 542 West Carpenter Lane.


The Mt. Airy Art Garage is not a competition — we are an Art Collaboration in its purest form. We are artists, creating art for you, our neighbors, our community. We are a magnet for energy, support, laughter, song, and for sharing. So join us, celebrate our last weekend, this Saturday and Sunday, December 19-20 from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. at 542 West Carpenter Lane. We welcome you with open arms.


Linda Slodki is a cofounder of Mt. Airy Arts Garage (www.mtairyartgarage.org).



Around 50 turned out for the Mt. Airy Business Association (MABA) holiday party held Thursday evening, December 10, at InFusion, 7151 Germantown Avenue.  Among them were (at left, left to right) Infusion co-owner Josie Dye; MABA Executive Director Kim Miller, Tesia Barone of Killer B Creative, Frederica Hoffman of GEM Associates, and Cynthia Potter and Greg Williams of Walk a Crooked Mile Books.



(Bottom, left to right) Julian Wells, John Siemiorowski of Electrical Wizardry, and George Butler of Butler Prestige Photography. See below for more about Mt. Airy’s special DecemberFest promotion.



Shop the Avenue - And Earn Gift Certificates


DecemberFest is Mt. Airy’s annual holiday promotion.  For every $250 you spend in Mt. Airy’s 19119 zip code and on Germantown Avenue from Washington Lane to Cresheim Valley Drive between November 20 and January 8, you can receive a $25 DecemberFest gift certificate.  Simply bring your receipts to Sovereign Bank no later than January 8  and receive your $25 gift certificate. Gift certificates can be spent from January 8 through May 8 at participating businesses, which are listed on the back of the certificate.  Pick up a DecemberFest receipt collection at local restaurants and retail shops and start saving your receipts today. Shop early and redeem often.  Certificates are available only while supplies last, limit five per household.


This year, the DecemberFest Committee sponsored a Holiday Decorating Contest. Participating businesses were evaluated on the following criteria: 1) Best use of the DecemberFest theme “shop local,” 2) best use of lights, and 3) best window display. 

The winner of the contest will be announced on Friday, December 18.


Join us for fun and shopping on Late Night Fridays in December on the 18 of the month. Shops will be open late to make sure you have every opportunity to shop local in Mt. Airy for the Holidays.



Pre-Holiday Music Festival

Come join the Mt. Airy-Nippon-Bryan-Cresheim Town Watch for its 8th annual Pre-Holiday Music Fest on Sunday, Dec. 20, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at High Point Café, in the Allen Lane Train Station. There will be fantastic music with John Colgan-Davis and members of the Dukes of Destiny (blues), Steve Hastie (high energy acoustic), Allen Krantz (classical guitar), Rusty Prall (mountain dulcimer), MB Singley (pop) and Helen Wendell (light opera). Scrumptious delights will include homemade pastries,sandwiches, soups, desserts, coffee and espressos. Purchase a food item and get $1 off a beverage.


Mt. Airy Calendars

Mt. Airy desk calendars are now available at The Photo Workshop, 8011 Germantown Avenue. Each month features a different photo of Mt. Airy. We received a total of 49 entries and the final 12 images were chosen by local photographers Nick Kelsh, Ron Tarver, and Nicki Toizer. They include pictures taken by Sol and Judy Levy, Melvin Chappell, Barbara Bloom, Annette Aloe, and John Barone.  Sales of these calendars will benefit the Make This Our Home fund for Mt. Airy Learning Tree to buy the building at Greene and Hortter. Calendars cost $14.95/each or $11.95/each (2-9 copies) or $10.95/each for 10 or more copies. You can also order calendars online at www.thephotoworkshop.net. These make great stocking stuffers.



Workshop for Small Businesses


The Greater Germantown Business Association, Inc.’s January 12 meeting will feature a special presentation by U. Harold Levy, Eastern Regional representative of the PA Department of General Services. This GGBA meeting is specifically designed for small businesses, minority- and women-owned businesses that want to sell products and services to the state. The purpose of the workshop is to not only explain the state certification process, but also to help businesses fill out the appropriate paperwork and complete the other steps necessary for certification. 


Levy will walk business owners through the state’s certification application line-by-line. By the end of the workshop, serious business owners will have completed most of their applications and be well on their way to being certified to do business with the state of Pennsylvania.


The “Certification Made Simple” workshop will be held Tuesday, January 12, 8:30 - 10 a.m. at the   Canvas Soup Beauty Lounge, 6143 Germantown Avenue.


Spaces are limited, so please R.S.V.P. as soon as possible to John Churchville at jchurchville8@gmail.com or leave a message at 215-848-8511. The Department of General Services has received stimulus funds to be used in Pennsylvania. Learn what to do from the source.



See Germantown’s Past at Pilates Studio


Want to find photographic images of Germantown? Try the Germantown Historical Society on Market Square. Youʼll find a library full of them, indexed and categorized. Or, visit Pilates in Germantown at 5904 Greene Street (near Rittenhouse) where you will find over 50 images of historic and street locations in the lounge area of the equipment training studio. The photos are mostly enlarged post cards collected by studio owner, Jeff Smith, over the past 10 years from eBay auctions.


Views include several of the Wissahickon valley including the Robertʼs Mill, Livezy House, Tedyuscung, Valley Green and the Walnut Lane Bridge.


Youʼll find an image of the first fire engine to service Germantown (1730), an ad for the Philadelphia Tobbagan Co. (merry-go-rounds), the springs behind the Johnson House, and the formerly world famous Thomas Meeham and Sons Nusery.


Or, how about the Jewish Orphanage and Asylum, the Duncan Hines approved


restaurant at Alden Park, the Wissahickon Inn (now Chestnut Hill Academy) or Stapley Hall in 1906?


These and many more are on display in the lounge area of the Pilates studio.


Visitors are welcome during hours when classes are not scheduled. “Itʼs my ʻBarnes Galleryʼ of Germantown photos,” Smith remarks.


Pilates in Germantown offers group and individual training on state of the art Balanced Body Reformers. For more information, visit www.PilatesInGermantown.com.



Free Tax Rebate Help at Myers’ Office


State Representative John Myers would like to remind senior citizens and other residents who may be eligible for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program that the December 31 deadline to apply for a rebate on their 2008 property taxes or rent is fast approaching.


This program provides a rebate to income-eligible residents who are 65 or older, 50 or older and widowed, or 18 or older with a permanent disability.


Myers’ office would be glad to help you to determine if you qualify and help you fill out the application form. This can also be done at senior citizen facilities.


Please note: some entities are advertising that they will help you fill out the form for a fee. Don’t fall for that – bring it to Myers’ office where you will be helped  free of charge.


For additional information please contact State Representative Myers office at 215-849-6592.


Forms and assistance are also available by visiting www.PaPropertyTaxRelief.com online or calling toll free 1-888-222-9190. You can check the status of a rebate claim after that date by visiting the program Web site or by calling 1-888-PATAXES.


Rep. Myers says, “If I can assist you with this or any other state government matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.”



Volunteers Green NW with Tree Plantings


Members of the WMAN Streetscapes Committee, with the help of local Girls Scouts, participate in a tree planting on November 21.  Seated (left to right): Jill Wolfe, Dave Tukey, Mia Mengucci.  Standing (left to right): Siena Childs, Shalah Ahmad, Hunter Baylor, Lisa Winder, Seane Baylor.  Photo by Mia Mengucci.


Over the past two years, 184 trees have been added to the West Mt. Airy streetscape through the efforts of the WMAN Streetscapes Committee, dedicated volunteers, and the TreeVitalize Program, a collaboration among many groups including the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Fairmount Park Commission, and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.


Since its first planting in November 2007, the Streetscapes Committee has organized twice yearly plantings each spring and fall.  In that period, 166 volunteers have donated 880 hours to plants these 184 trees. 


Last month, the Streetscapes Committee organized another successful planting.  Volunteers convened at Allens Lane Art Center and then branched out to various locations within West Mt. Airy.  The Committee was pleased to welcome two local Girl Scout Troops, #978 led by Angela Ahmad and #9445 led by Seane Baylor, who helped with the tree planting efforts.  That day, 32 trees were planted by 39 volunteers who worked a combined 152 hours.


Future activities by the Streetscapes Committee include a series of pruning workshops which will be led by Kevin Stutler and Mia Mengucci at the Allens Lane Art Center on Saturday, January 30 and Saturday, February 6.  Another bare root tree planting will be held in March or April of 2010. 


If you are interested in learning more about how to apply for a tree or the pruning workshops, please contact Doris Kessler at doris.kessler@verizon.net or Dave Tukey at wmatrees@verizon.net.



Volunteer to be Trail Ambassador


The Friends of the Wissahickon are looking for volunteers to work as Trail Ambassadors in Wissahickon Valley Park.


The application deadline is Friday, January 15. Eight training classes will be conducted in February and March of 2010. The application fee is $125, but applications received before January 1 will receive a $25 discount.


Trail Ambassadors are volunteers who assist park users in the Wissahickon by sharing information about flora, fauna, regulations, geography, and history of the Wissahickon, along with directions and first aid assistance. Trail Ambassadors share their knowledge by:

● Interacting with and providing assistance to park users while walking the trails;

● Staffing information tables at FOW volunteer days and events;

● Leading walks in the Wissahickon Valley; and

● Conducting surveys of park users and wildlife.

 Ambassadors must be FOW members or join the organization. The number of open positions is limited. For more information, program requirements, and an application form visit www.fow.org.

Contact FOW Volunteer Coordinator Kevin Groves with questions at groves@fow.org or 215-247-0417 ext 105.



Volunteer with Working with People


“Roll up your sleeve” was the statement that echoed throughout the room as seasonal flu shots were given to 96 adults in the Germantown/Mt Airy/Chestnut Hill community on Saturday Nov. 21.


The event, hosted by Working with People, a community development corporation established in September of this year, was held at the New Covenant Campus, 7500 Germantown Avenue. Working with People and New Covenant Church partnered with the Philadelphia Department of Health to make this service available.


Free vaccinations and information on TrustScripts discount prescription plan, Angel Food Ministries, Wisdom from the Word daily radio program and other service oriented programs offered by Working with People and New Covena nt Church were provided to attendees. Volunteer participation added greatly to the success of the event and greatly eased the anxiety of waiting patients.  Community residents and New Covenant Church members volunteered beside professional volunteers Dr. Akili DeBrady and registered nurses Donna Foster and Claire Herr.


The need and opportunity for community volunteers remains.  If you are interested in learning more about Working with People, volunteer opportunities, or any of the above mentioned programs or services, please contact Elizabeth (Bizz) Douty at 215-247-7500, ext. 141. 



Northwest Zoning Hearings


The following hearings will be held at the Zoning Board of Adjustments, 1515 Arch Street, on the 18th floor. All information is according to the Community Alerting Service of the Housing Association of Delaware Valley.


Wednesday, December 23, 2 p.m. – 506 West Springer Street, four use and four zoning variances. Permit for the relocation of lot lines to create four lots from one lot (506 West Springer Street) and for the erection of a three-story semi-detached structure with cellar, maximum height 35 feet, for use as a single-family dwelling unit with an interior garage on each lot.


Wednesday, December 23, 4 p.m.: 7721 Germantown Avenue, three zoning variances. Permit for the relocation of lot lines to create four lots to be as follows (lots A, B, D, E and F) from five lots (existing in four BRT Ac Numbers) 7721 Germantown Avenue retail sale of herbal nutritional supplements, second floor for holistic health center including therapeutic massage, 7723 Germantown Avenue for a beauty shop on first floor, second floor one dwelling unit, 7725 Germantown avenue, retail bakery with food prep for take-out, one dwelling unit on the second/third floors, 7720-22 Winston Rd iron shop with accessory parking of cars, trucks with accessory office.



Mt. Airy Baseball Offers Winter Clinics


Mt. Airy Baseball, beginning its 25th year of providing baseball instruction and play in 2010, announces that its Winter Programs are now open for registration. The programs are open to all children, even if they haven’t played Mt. Airy Baseball in the past.


The Mt. Airy Clinics provide instruction in hitting, pitching and catching to girls and boys 8 thru 16 years of age.  There are 12 sessions, offering 4 ½ hours of instruction over 3 days at the low cost of $25 per session.  No child will be turned away for inability to pay, but pre-registration is suggested. 


The first sessions begin over Christmas weekend (December 26-28) and are a great activity for children on winter break.  Sessions continue through early February.  All clinics are held in the gym at Mt. Airy Presbyterian Church, Germantown and Mt. Pleasant avenues.


Mt. Airy Baseball also offer hitting workouts for players ages 10-13 at the Ambler Sports Academy on Sundays from February through March.  Each one hour session is $20 and players must be pre-registered.


You can download the registration form from the Mt. Airy Baseball website at www.mtairybaseball.org



Pre-Holiday Music Festival

Come join the Mt. Airy-Nippon-Bryan-Cresheim Town Watch for its 8th annual Pre-Holiday Music Fest on Sunday, Dec. 20, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at High Point Café, in the Allen Lane Train Station. There will be fantastic music with John Colgan-Davis and members of the Dukes of Destiny (blues), Steve Hastie (high energy acoustic), Allen Krantz (classical guitar), Rusty Prall (mountain dulcimer), MB Singley (pop) and Helen Wendell (light opera). Scrumptious delights will include homemade pastries,sandwiches, soups, desserts, coffee and espressos. Purchase a food item and get $1 off a beverage.


Kwanzaa Festival

A Kwanzaa Festival and Workshop will be held Saturday Dec. 26, at the Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center, 22nd and Lehigh Avenue, from noon to 5 p.m. Activities include a candle lighting ceremony, African cuisine, African dance, poetry, and make’em-take’em workshops. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for children under 18, free for children under age 3. For more information call Malika at 215- 849-3184 or Phoenix at 215-739-4646.


Poinsettia Sale

The Friends of Vernon Park Poinsettia Sale will be held Thursday, December 17, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at Center in the Park, 5818 Germantown Avenue. Buy your poinsettia from Friends of Vernon Park. The proceeds benefit your neighborhood park. Call Sue Finch at 215-843-5007 for further information.



Sing Along with Oz Characters


Video Library, 7141 Germantown Avenue, will host special matinee screenings of The Wizard of Oz  Monday through Wednesday,  December 21-23, at 2 p.m. 70 years after its release, the classic film is now available in a splendid print with sing-a-long words on the bottom of the screen to all the songs you love. And there’s an Oz contest: when you come, tell us your favorite character and you might win a free scoop of ice cream. Tickets (including popcorn) are $6. For more information call 215-247-3020 or visit www.mtairyvideolibrary.com



The Residential Christmas Tree Recycling Program will run from Saturday, January 9 through Saturday, January 16. Citizens who wish to drop off their trees for recycling may take it to the Streets Department Sanitation Convenience Centers, 3033 S. 63rd Street, Domino Lane and Umbria Street, and State Road and Ashburner Street, during the one-week program. The centers are open 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. There will be no curbside collection of Christmas trees for recycling purposes. Trees left at the curb will be considered as trash and will be picked up on regularly scheduled trash days. For information call 215-686-5560, visit www.phila.gov/streets, or call 3-1-1.



$11K in Grants from Mt. Airy Teachers Fund


For the second straight year, the Mt. Airy Teacher’s Fund awarded nearly $11,000 in grants to 26 public school teachers in Mt. Airy. A total of 41 teachers at the AB Day, Emlen, Henry, Houston, and Lingelbach schools submitted applications for this year’s Teacher’s Fund grants.  Grants awarded ranged in size from $385 to $500 each and were judged based on educational opportunities provided by the teachers.


A majority of this year’s grant funds were distributed to teachers who incorporated a pro-tolerance/anti-bullying message in their proposed projects.  Peter Yarrow of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary staged a 2007 concert fundraiser at the home of Judy and Ken Weinstein which raised more than $10,000.  Peter Yarrow’s wishes were to use the funds to help send a message to kids in Northwest Philadelphia that bullying is not acceptable and leads to anger and resentment. 


“The committee wanted to be true to how Peter Yarrow wanted the funds to be used.  That’s why we decided to dedicate the majority of this teacher’s grants towards Peter’s message of anti-bullying,” explained Trolley Car Diner & Deli owner Ken Weinstein, one of the Mt. Airy Teacher’s Fund’s Committee members. 


The grants approved were diverse and ranged from tennis lessons at the Houston School to a “Building Bridges” puppet musical about conflict resolution at the AB Day School to a navigational program that encourages fitness at the Lingelbach School.

“We funded some very exciting projects both in and out of the classroom,” explained Mt. Airy Teacher’s Fund Committee member and West Mt. Airy Neighbors Executive Vice President Leslie Winder.  “I am particularly excited about some of the field trips that will take place because of these grants.”


The Teacher’s Fund grants are available as a result of strong support from Peter Yarrow from Peter, Paul and Mary, Trolley Car Diner & Deli and other individual donors.  The Mt. Airy Teacher’s Fund Committee will continue to seek additional funding in order to provide another round of grants next fall.  Committee members include Pat Harless, Pauline Henry, Marilyn Lambert, Richard Raisman, Ken Weinstein and Leslie Winder.


Now in its second year of operation, the Mt. Airy Teacher’s Fund was created to help public school teachers in Mt. Airy fund projects that help to educate their students.  Many Mt. Airy teachers were previously forced to pay for educational projects out of their own pockets or decided to not pursue educational opportunities because they could not obtain funding from the Philadelphia School District.


To receive more information about the Mt. Airy Teacher’s Fund, call 215-848-1133 x 208.



GHS to Commemorate Victims of Violence


As the holidays approach, Germantown High School is preparing to embark on a wonderful program in conjunction with Mothers United Through Tragedy, Inc., to benefit students and families that have lost loved ones to violence. The event, “Germantown High School’s Stolen Dreams Remembered,” will be held on Monday, December 21, at 5:30 p.m.


The event will benefit both Germantown High School students and the surrounding community.  We will be collecting new, used and seasonally warm shoes that will be placed on the steps of the school to symbolize those lives lost to acts of violence. Shoes, sneakers, boots, slippers, etc. will be collected through December 18. We will also include names and/or photos of the victims. The shoes will then be donated to a local shelter in the name of Germantown High School and Mothers United Through Tragedy, Inc.


We will be having a program in the auditorium as well as a balloon releasing ceremony at the end of the event to commemorate those lives lost.



World-Class Players Soccer Clinic


Two soccer players, World Cup and Olympic veterans Chris Albright and Ben Olsen, will conduct a clinic for the youth of the Starfinder Foundation on Dec. 19 between 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Starfinder’s facility, 4015 Main Street, Manayunk.  Albright and Olsen’s background as top level professionals will allow for high-level training in a fun, energetic atmosphere. Native Eastern Pennsylvania players, Chris and Ben, look to promote the game of soccer in their home state and provide training for those youth who have a passion and desire to play soccer. 


Starfinder’s mission is to enhance the personal growth of underserved youth through soccer and learning experiences that engage, inspire and motivate.   Through participation in these experiences, young people discover the “stars” in themselves and strive to become agents of change in their communities. Participation in this clinic will also motivate these young leaders and soccer players to strive for personal success.


The clinic is also a preview of the AO Pro Soccer Camp which provides top-level training for youth throughout the Eastern Pennsylvania area and is open to anyone who is interested in attending.  The camp is held from December 26-28 or Dec. 29-31 at a rate of $225 per session.  Chris and Ben, along with other MLS players, run every minute of these sessions not only for elite male players, but also for the elite female players in the area.


The camp sessions simulate a game-prep practice week at the professional level and provides training that is pointed, rigorous, challenging and fun.


Information on the camp can be found at www.starfinderfoundation.org.



The Philadelphia Black Alliance for Educational Options is hosting a Parents With Power session on Thursday, December 17, 6:30-8 p.m. at New Media Technology Charter School, 8034 Thouron Avenue – Sedgwick Street entrance.


If you are a high school student or parent of a high school student looking for the money to pay the expensive cost of college tuition, this session is for you. The Pennsylvania Higher Education assistance Authority (PHEAA) will help you plan a financial timeline for college and will help you fill out the Financial aid Application online. Allow BAEO and PHEAA to simplify the process, step by step. It’s never too early to prepare. For information call 215-851-1795.



Donations Sought for Food Cupboard


The Episcopal Church of the Annunciation, located at the corner of Lincoln Drive and Carpenter Lane in Mt. Airy, has recently begun a weekly food cupboard for the purpose of serving those in our community who are in need. 

The church has partnered with a national organization called SHARE and are looking to grow as a local neighborhood service.  Since opening the cupboard, we’ve discovered a tremendous demand for food and we are struggling to keep up with the needs of the many people who’ve come by. 


In light of this, the church is looking for local businesses in the food industry who would be interested in partnering with it by helping its supply keep up with the demand.


If your business is interested, please contact Yvonne Lee at 215-301-0069.



GAME Night at Reformation


Make plans to bring your family and friends to the Holiday Celebration and GAME (God And My Entertainment) Night at Reformation Lutheran Church’s Spirit Hall on Saturday, December 19, 5-8 p.m.  The festivities will include a buffet of specially-prepared holiday refreshments, dancing and board games for everyone.

Rev. Lamont Anthony Wells, pastor, Reformation Lutheran Church, cordially welcomes the public to join members and friends of Reformation Lutheran Church for Christmas Eve services on Thursday, December 24.  “We will come together for a Family Worship Service at 7 p.m. featuring contemporary Christmas carols, sacred music and hymns performed by our Reformation Lutheran Church Choir, followed by the Christmas Vigil Service, which begins at 11 p.m., and includes the Service of Holy Communion as well,” says Pastor Wells. 

Reformation Lutheran Church, known as The Welcome Place, is located at 1215 East Vernon Road.  For information on these activities, please call the church at 215-548-4332.  Established in 1942, Reformation Lutheran Church is an affiliate of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.


‘Rosemary for Remembrance’ at St. Paul’s


Saint Paul’s Church, 22 East Chestnut Hill Avenue, will offer “Rosemary for Remembrance: A Service When Christmas is a Difficult Time” on Sunday, December 20 at 5 p.m.  Individuals and families who live with painful memories of loss may join in this meditative and soothing service of prayer.  In candlelight, sprigs of rosemary will be given as remembrances of those who are missed at this season of Jesus’ birth.  Prior to worship a workshop on grieving will be held in the parish house from 2 – 5 p.m.  The workshop will include strategies for coping with loss, mindfulness meditation, storytelling, creative response and quiet reflection.  One can attend the worship without going to the workshop, or attend the workshop as a singular event.  All are invited to both.  To register for the workshop, please call 215-242-2055.

The title for worship, “Rosemary for Remembrance” comes from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Act IV, scene V:  “There’s rosemary;  that’s for remembrance./ Pray, love, remember.”  The herb rosemary has, for centuries, held great meaning as the symbol of remembrance.  Legend says that the Virgin Mary, while resting, spread her cloak over a white flowering rosemary bush.  The flowers turned the pale blue of her cloak, and from then on the bush was referred to as the “Rose of Mary.”  The service is intended to help worshipers “pray, love, and remember.”  All are invited to participate.

The staff at Samaritan Counseling at St. Paul’s urges anyone who has experienced a loss this year to pay attention to themselves.  They advise: “Be patient with yourself and take care of yourself.  Be realistic and honest about your limits.  What traditions do you want to continue, or start, and which might be too hard this year?  Finally, accept your feelings.  Everyone grieves differently.  Ask yourself, ‘Where can I find peace?  What brings me joy?’  Finally, if your find yourself overwhelmed, don’t struggle alone.  Talk to a trusted friend, a family member, or a counselor experienced with grief and its effects.”


A Red Cross blood drive will be held Sunday, December 20, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., at the Germantown Jewish Centre, 400 West Ellet Street, sponsored by the Men’s Club. Walk-ins are welcome but advanced registration is preferred. For information on the above programs or to RSVP, e-mail to  program@germantownjewishcentre.org or call 215-844-1507, ext 19.


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Germantown Friends School’s (GFS) Shelby Tucker (left) drives for the basket as Penn Charter's Brianna Butler comes in on defense in last weekend’s Germantown Community Basketball Tournement, where boys’ and girls’ teams from five local high schools squared off on the court at GFS. 

Germantown Hoops Tourney